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When the Power Goes Out

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When the Power Goes Out

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One Monday afternoon I was at work getting the newspaper my company produces ready to send to the printing plant. Suddenly a terrible summer storm blew through the area. High winds tore up trees like a gardener pulling up weeds.

In our newspaper office, we kept working through the storm until suddenly, BOOM! Everything went dark and silent. No lights. No computers. No phones. No air conditioning.

For an hour we waited for the power to return. We couldn't work without it. Finally, we decided to go home and come back when the power returned.

A coworker drove me home. None of the traffic signals were working. All of the businesses and homes looked dark. Everywhere trees had suffered broken limbs that had pulled down power lines. When we got two blocks from my house, we could drive no farther. Fallen trees had blocked the road. I walked the rest of the way.

My home was undamaged, but there was no power. I waited in the silent darkness for my family to come home.

I thought about how we take electricity for granted. When the clock radio wakes us up, we push aside our electric blanket, go into our bathroom and turn on the light. We wash with electrically heated water. We turn on our electric coffee pots and electric stove to make breakfast. We turn on the TV to catch the morning news. Whenever we flip a switch, electricity is always there.

But that Monday, it wasn't there. When my family got home, we couldn't cook. The house was hot with no air conditioning. So we went to a restaurant for a hot meal and cool air.

When the sun went down, we lit candles and got out flashlights, but there was little to do. Radios and TV required power. We couldn't even read our Bibles after dark because there was no light.

By 9 p.m. the power was restored at my office, so I went back to work. But when I got home after midnight, my house was still dark. Power was not restored at home until Tuesday afternoon.

Can We Have a Spiritual Power Outage?

None of us like being without electrical power. It's frustrating. But what about being without spiritual power?

At Pentecost we focused our attention on God's Spirit and how we receive it. But is it possible to take God's Spirit for granted and lose it? Can we have a spiritual power outage?

What is life like without God's Spirit? It's similar to being without electrical power in our physical lives.

1. We can't work. When the power went out at the office, we all went home. We couldn't work.

Without God's Spirit we can't do God's work! Jesus Christ did a great spiritual work when He walked the earth. But He said three times in the Gospel of John that He could do nothing of Himself (John 5:19 John 5:19Then answered Jesus and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he does, these also does the Son likewise.
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, 30; 8:28). His works were done by God through the power of His Spirit. If Christ had been without God's Spirit, He could have done nothing.

If we don't have the Spirit of God, we cannot do the work of God.

2. We can't communicate. When the power went out at work, our phone system went dead. Radios and televisions don't work without electricity.

Without God's Spirit, we are cut off from God and can't communicate with Him. Romans 8:5-10 Romans 8:5-10 [5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. [10] And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
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tells us that without God's Spirit, we are the enemies of God; we can't please God; we are not Christ's. How thankful we can be for God's calling and His plan to call all men!

3. We can't prepare our food. Without electricity for our stove, we couldn't cook. That made preparing something to eat difficult.

It takes God's Spirit to open our minds to accept the spiritual food offered by God through the Bible and inspired preaching and publications (1 Corinthians 2:10-14 1 Corinthians 2:10-14 [10] But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
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).

4. Food begins to spoil. Without electricity, food stored in refrigerators and freezers thaws, gets warm and begins to spoil.

If we lose God's Spirit, the spiritual knowledge that we have stored up will begin to spoil. We have seen people who knew God's ways and kept the Sabbath and Holy Days for years but gave them up when they left God's Church. The truth they had spoiled when they cut themselves off from God's Spirit.

All the food stored in our freezers will be for nothing if electricity is not restored in time. And years of obeying God will be for nothing if people cut themselves off from God's Spirit for too long a time (Ezekiel 18:24 Ezekiel 18:24But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All his righteousness that he has done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die.
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).

5. We're not comfortable. I've had power go out on hot, sticky summer days and in frigid winter ice storms. In either case, the house becomes uncomfortable very quickly. It soon becomes unbearably warm or unbearably cold.

With God's Spirit there is peace (2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
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). Christ called it the Comforter (John 15:26 John 15:26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me:
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; 16:7, King James Version). Without it, life is not peaceful. Life is uncomfortable.

6. We're in the dark. Without electricity, we are in the dark.

Without God's Spirit giving us access to Christ and God, we walk in the dark, not knowing where we're going (John 12:35-36 John 12:35-36 [35] Then Jesus said to them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come on you: for he that walks in darkness knows not where he goes. [36] While you have light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. These things spoke Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
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).

What Causes Spiritual Outages?

Summer storms with high winds and lightning strikes can cause electrical power outages. But what causes spiritual power outages?

1. Our sins. Isaiah 59:2 Isaiah 59:2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
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says our sins cut us off from God. After David sinned with Bathsheba, he prayed to God in Psalms 51:11 Psalms 51:11Cast me not away from your presence; and take not your holy spirit from me.
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, "Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." David was afraid God would take away His Spirit because he sinned.

When we sin, we should quickly repent as David did in Psalm 51, before we find ourselves in a spiritual power outage.

2. Neglect. We also can lose God's Spirit by ignoring or neglecting it. You've heard the old expression, "Use it or lose it." In 12th grade I knew French well enough to read whole books in French without looking up hardly a word. Now I can hardly read a book in French without looking up most of the words.

The Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:13 John 16:13However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
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). It produces fruit in us (Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
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). If we don't follow where the Spirit leads us, we will lose the Spirit through neglect.

Paul told Timothy, "Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands" (2 Timothy 1:6 2 Timothy 1:6Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.
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). Getting connected to this spiritual power source requires a laying on of hands, which is prescribed to follow repentance and baptism—Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
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. To receive this spiritual power, young people in the Church should prepare to be baptized when the time is right.

A physical power outage is no fun. It's frustrating to live without electrical power. But a spiritual power outage is much worse! Let's not go through life in a spiritual power outage! UN